l-r; Erica Martin and Jillian Garnett

By Erica Martin and Jillian Garnett, Tennessee Tribune Summer Interns

NASHVILLE, TN July 12, 2018 — In the greater Nashville area, there are many summer camps for kid’s ages 6-16, but many parents are desiring a safe space for their children. For the second year, TSU has hosted sports and music camps created by From the Heart Education Foundation in collaboration with the Office of International Affairs Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) program.  This foundation is a not-for profit organization co-founded by TSU Alumni Dr. Jewell Winn and Kerry Frazier, along with Vanderbilt Alum Corey Harris and Lisa Petros, Business Owner/Community Volunteer.  These two camps offer opportunities for kids to engage in a diverse range of music and sports experiences while receiving mentoring and leadership skills development. The daily camps provide a nurturing and supportive environment which helps the kids form lifelong friendships and receive support from professionals committed to enhancing their lives over the summer.

Tim Winn, one of the sports camp leaders stated, “While the two camps are separate, all campers begin their day with breakfast and daily brain exercises using board games such as Chess and tic-tac-toe.  The games are meant to challenge them to solve problems without using physical expression.  The mental exercises help to not only build intellect, but also confidence that they can accomplish any task that they put their mind to.” 

After breakfast, the campers divide into their individual groups and the camp leaders dive into an intense curriculum specifically designed for grades 5 through 10.  The music campers receive hands on experience in music performance as well as individual piano, guitar, and percussion lessons. The sports campers learn the basics of competitive sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and tennis as well as learn the intangible traits of becoming a professional athlete. All campers participate in several field trips throughout the summer including visits to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, BMI, SESAC, Belmont recording studio, Bridgestone Arena, and Nissan Stadium.  The camp leaders use their professional contacts and resources to bring in guest artists and pro athletes to engage the students. The camps are partially funded through grants from the Metropolitan Development Housing Agency and the Metro Arts Commission.

The Music for LIFE (love, integrity, faith and education) camp has created a space where student musicians–from beginners to advanced–learn to play and perform a wide range of instruments. During the course of the camp they are musically trained to critically listen to every note of music being introduced.  All participants strive to master playing basic songs and chords on the piano by the end of the program, regardless of the level of experience they began with. Music Camp leader Kerry Frazier is a TSU alum, adjunct music professor at TSU, music director at Berean Baptist Church, professional musician, songwriter and founding music director at From the Heart Education Foundation where he serves as an international music teacher for middle school through college.  The other Music Camp leader, Trey Byrd is an MTSU alum, assistant music director at From the Heart Education Foundation and professional musician having toured with Sharrie Williams and played on Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jay Leno.  Both are passionate music educators and excited that they are able to use their numerous years of experience to cultivate the musical talent of so many youth.

On the other side of the camp you can hear the sounds of young boys bouncing basketballs on the pavement or see footballs flying across the field. The sports camp is fortunate to have as a leader Coach Corey Harris, an NFL veteran and Super Bowl Champion. He is also the founder of the IMPACT Zone Sports program at From the Heart Education Foundation.  Joining the camp this year is Tim Winn who is a master martial artist, Chef, and wellness enthusiast.  These professionals lead the campers through rigorous exercises each day preparing them mentally and physically for athletic competition and sportsmanship activities. During the campers’ transition for indoor activities, Coach Winn quietly engaged one of the campers in a conversation about his abilities on the basketball court. Even though the camper was a smaller boy, his personality and confidence made him seem larger than life. The rest of the boys conversed amongst themselves respectfully as they approached the sports complex. Winn indicated there is an unspoken bond between the coaches and the campers. This unique relationship helps the Coaches manage the campers’ discipline, while enforcing self-control and respect.   

The camps are offered each year and students who are interested should visit the Foundation website at www.fromthehearteducationfoundation for additional information and year round programs. The non-profit organization’s primary goal is to teach, empower and provide much needed support to youth locally and abroad. The camps foster creativity, provide encouragement to explore the unknown, build confidence, and expand their lens all while keeping them safe and secure.